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Abusing Prescription Drugs

Updated on September 9, 2012
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if there is a medical need to take painkillers, you take hem from your doctor and take as many as needed. This dependson what kind it is, but what about when you have no problem? Prescription drug abuse is increasing with the intensity of a fuel fed fire with opiods; (Narcotics) depressants, and stimulants being the most abused. These drugs are abused to get a euphoric effect or other mind altering behavior to become high or to provide focus during college exam time. The thing is, after that initial euphoria effect, the feeling wears off and the user is left with the complete opposite, a very unpleasant feeling called dysphoria which causes depression, irritability, and restlessness until the substance is taken again. This is similar to withdrawal symptoms., which may spike more attempts to recreate the same euphoric feeling.

A very insightful book that illustrates what occurs when drug addiction is out of control is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. This book comprises of a utopian society where everyone and everything is regulated through one drug, Soma. This society discourages feeling anything. This story shows it especially with pain and discomfort. Everybody pops a Soma pill whenever they please, which mirrors what today’s society is like, hiding behind drugs. The climax of this lesson appears when one of the characters who is not a resident of this “perfect world” is brought in and does more soma than anyone else, becomes an addict, and ends up dying from overdosing. Aldous Huxley exhibited these feelings with 2 of many quotes, “One cubic centimeter cures ten gloomy sentiments,"(89). And “A gramme is better than a damn”(89). “We’re a society of pill takers.” “We look at something to feel better rather than looking inside to make ourselves feel better”(Doup).

When someone has an addiction, the drug destroys their life. People get addicted to how the drug makes them feel, which then causes the addiction, which can ruin lives and cause them to do almost anything, even illegal ways to acquire their fix, some even turning to a life of crime. Seeking repeated feelings of pleasure through the behavior or substance is considered to be one of the hallmarks of addiction. Many teens can simply find many of these types of drugs in medicine cabinets they raid which in turn they trade and sell. They start going to Pharming parties which are organized parties that teens drink and swap or sample many different types of drugs they’ve stolen. In one example, teens gathered in an abandoned Florida warehouse where all types of pills such as Vicondin, OxyCotin and Xanax are popped like candy, throwing the dangers of the possibility of overdose to the wind, or the fact that many of these types of drugs are life threatening to mix together, including with alcohol, a major side effect from too many pills is respiratory repression, which can lead to the heart stopping. An additional danger is if they they do start to feel sick, they ignore it or their peers fail to notice anything which sadly can lead to an untimely death. A recent statistic showed over 2.3 million kids are participating in these parties. An astounding 212 percent increased from when kids used to just search the liquor cabinet for a quick high back in 1992. The age at which some people start is unbelievable, some as young as 10 years old.

One of the main problems seems to be easy access, which is one of the top reasons teens get addicted. Another way to easy access is trading a few of these for a few of those. One part of a study at a Midwestern university showed that out of 9,161 students, 54 percent had acquired drugs from their peers, showing how easy it is. The most popular narcotic abused is Vicodin, known for its powerful euphoria effect, the secret is the hydrocordone the painkiller is comprised of. College students seem to abuse it the most with an estimated 7.4 percent of students who used Vicodoin up from 6.9 percent in 2002” (Lori). Men and fraternity members are more prone and colleges in the northeast. (Men are twice are likely with the statistic being 5.8 percent against 2.9 percent of women.) College students also abuse Ritalin, and Adderall, which are stimulant medicines usually used to treat conditions such as ADD/ADHD. Grades don’t seem to hinder the abuse of drugs with even students achieving A’s at 3.3 percent, but lower than a B at 5.2 percent. Fraternities played an amazing role at a whopping 17 percent of abuse. A study at a Midwestern university surveyed 9,161 students and found 16 percent had abused drugs in their lifetime. It was also found that early exposure in life to prescription drugs such as painkillers increased the chance of it being used in college. An astounding fact is that women who took pain killers in elementary school were four times more likely than those who had not to abuse. Men were only twice as likely. There is a difference between abuse and addiction, one can lead to another and most people who abuse these types of drugs do in fact, end up addicted.

Addiction means a person has no control over whether they use a drug, their life begins to revolve using it. There are two types of addictions, psychological and physical, psychological is when the desire for the drug is emotional, they have a strong desire to just have it, they need it to go on, even if they don’t. Physical has to do with the body, the repeated attempts to feel “perfect” can lead to this kind of addiction, it is when the body craves it very bad and suffers severe withdrawal symptoms if the user does not keep a steady supply coming in. A constant supply then leads to tolerance, eventually a person will need more of the same type of drug but in greater amounts to achieve the same desired effect. Over time, the abuser will manage the symptoms with more painkillers. Usually when people with legitimate medical conditions take these medicines, they don't feel euphoria. “They feel relief of symptoms," says Dr. Brown. "But when someone who doesn't have a legitimate medical problem takes them, they feel the effects much more, and that leads to more use. Eventually, when the kids take enough of the medicine and if they have a genetic predisposition, they can end up addicted” (Brown) When the user starts keeping a constant supply going, they are labeled as drug seeking behavior, which causes many problems with people not believing them and being judged by insurance companies and doctors which causes them more distress and more abuse, addiction become a cycle and can’t be broken by the user unless they admit they have a problem and want help.

People get addicted for many reasons, there are people with legitimate reasons to have painkillers but there also those who use it to mask emotional pain, or just to simply achieve a high. There was a finding of Thirty-one out of 75 patients who were hospitalized for opioid detoxification told University at Buffalo physicians they first got hooked on drugs legitimately prescribed for pain. Every day people abuse a pain reliever for the very first time and they do not realize the potential life threatening dangers of what seems as a simple one time high. This problem is only going to grow larger with people abusing drugs of all sorts to achieve their recreational needs, mostly narcotics for euphoria, or attention but as Dr. Lynda says, “people need to know about the risks of abuse and the dangers of mixing drugs.”Another point made by Barbara Zohlman, an executive director of a drug free program states that “Kids think, it’s not heroin, it’s not crack, it’s a legal drug, how bad can that be?” The unpleasant feeling left afterwards creates an urge for them which leads to the needing of a constant supply which all can lead to the wretched road of life ruining addiction if caution is not used.


Works Cited

Doup, Liz. "Teens Are Swapping Pills at "Pharming Parties"" Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale.

Hartney, Elizabeth. "Painkiller Addiction - How Painkiller Addiction Happens." Addictions. Web. <http://addictions.about.com/od/substancedependence/tp/painkillers.htm>.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. Print.

Whitten, Lori. "NIDA - Publications - NIDA Notes - Vol. 20, No. 4 - Research Findings." ARCHIVES - National Institute on Drug Abuse - The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction. Web. <http://archives.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_notes/NNvol20N4/Studies.html>.

<http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2010/08/100820145307.htm>

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      Nicole 2 years ago

      I concur with Dennis and Scott that addcition is a chronic condition. Assuming I worked at a public treatment center there are several things I would do to further the work of aligning this belief to what is actually practiced in our profession. Direct work with clients and families would include the education piece about how addcition is like having cancer, not like having a really bad case of the measles. Framing the issue of chronic vs. acute this way is crucial to helping all involved take the long view of success. Group work with a mixed-stage set of clients over an extended number of sessions as in Weegmann and English, skyped or cell phone based assertive continuing care, in-person quarterly RMC's, would all be woven into my practice (assuming my agency was supportive). Much systemic work is needed to spread this vital reframing of addcition as a chronic condition. From an education standpoint, this concept and practice is not a hard shift to sell, but many of these shifts will cost money. When it comes down to dollars that is a different story. From all levels within the agency, to community, state and federal funding sources both education and advocacy is necessary. I am ready to sign up for the sustained push that is required for progress to be made. Taking these sytemic changes even further into the very critical need for overall change in our nation’s addcition treatment and aftercare structure. Toward that end I agree with McClellan and Meyers and say increases in funding support are needed to implement best practices in treating adults, adolescents, those who are dually diagnosed and incarcerated.

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      Jay 2 years ago

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